The best approach to take is to start by thinking broadly. Research your local neighbourhood to get an overview, both online and offline.
The internet might not have all the answers, but it will be essential at the beginning of your search. Most local papers have online archives, so set aside an afternoon for delving through them.
Visit the library
Most libraries have a local history section so sit down with a pile of books and start browsing. More importantly, libraries have librarians who are often fountains of knowledge! If they can’t help, they can point you in the direction of somebody who can.
Take a walk
Although the search engine might be your best friend, a walk around the local area will help you find clues to its history. Walk around your neighbourhood slowly and take a good look at everything you see – it is amazing how much you might have missed previously.
Look around your building’s communal areas if you live in a flat. We have recently taken on a flat in a property in South Hampstead with a very interesting history that we learnt from a plaque in the hallway.
Talk to your neighbours
It’s an obvious pointer, but one that is often forgotten; talk to your neighbours! They may have lived in the area longer than you, know of a local expert or they may have already conducted similar research.
Visit an estate agent
A good estate agent should be a local area specialist. Many have worked in the same postal code for several years and viewed hundreds of properties in the area. Even if they can’t help you with specifics, they can fill in any gaps about the history of the area.
You are not the first person to take an interest in the history of a home. Visit your local history group who will be able to help and guide you in the right direction. They also have a passion for the area and experience of research, so can provide you with more top tips for conducting your search.
If you know that your building is listed, visit http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/ to kick off your research.
For the serious researcher the National Archives is a must. Comprising land registry data and census records this is where things will hopefully fall into place.
Have you researched the property of your home? Share your top tips on the Paramount Facebook page – we have a prize for the best tips!
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